UPDATE March 08, 2012
A suppression order which had banned the publication of reasons for the application by accused murderer Lloyd Rayney to have a judge-only (no jury) trial have now been lifted.
An affidavit filed by State prosecutors indicates the State’s case is circumstantial.
However, prosecutors intend to lead forensic evidence at the trial from various experts and police officers that there were items linking Mrs Rayney to the family home in Como at the time of her death, such as “scuff marks” on her boots and evidence of red brick particles and plant material found on her body and at the Como home.
The prominent Perth barrister is charged with the murder of his wife, Corryn Rayney, in August 2007.
He has maintained his innocence and is due to stand trial in front of Supreme Court judge in May.
The application for a judge-alone trial was made by Mr Rayney on October 14 last year but the reasons were suppressed at the time.
We can now reveal the details of the decision handed down by Commissioner Kevin Sleight in WA’s Supreme Court.
Mr Rayney applied for the judge-only trial on the grounds:
– The extent and nature of pre-trial publicity had created the danger of a prejudice against him
– He wishes to waive his right of trial by jury as he is of the view that he will not receive a fair trial
– The trial, due to its complexity and length, would likely be unreasonably burdensome to a jury
– Due to the complexity and length of the trial, it is in the interests of justice that reasons be given for the decision
The application was opposed in court by State prosecutors, who argued that any pre-trial prejudice against Mr Rayney could be guarded against with instructions to the jury by the sitting judge.
In his decision, Commissioner Sleight said to grant a judge-alone trial, the court had to first decide if it was in the interests of justice.
He pointed to media coverage of a press conference in which a police officer was reported as saying Mr Rayney was ‘a person of interest but not a suspect in the death of his wife’.
“Senior counsel for Mr Rayney has made it clear in his oral submissions that the main ground of the application by Mr Rayney is that the pre-trial publicity has created a serious risk of an unfair trial which should be
averted by an order for a trial by judge alone,” Commissioner Sleight said.
“It is submitted on behalf of Mr Rayney that a major cause of the prejudice created against him arises from what is described as the unprecendented move of Detective Senior Sergeant Lee on the 20 September 2007 naming Mr Rayney as the prime and only suspect.
“In my opinion the real prejudice created by the police announcement was that it heightened the media’s and the public’s interest in the case and spurred speculation and debate in the community as to Mr Rayney’s
guilt over a sustained period.”
Commissioner Sleight said the extent of the pre-trial publicity around the Rayney case had been exceptional and had created an atmosphere of prejudice against Mr Rayney because it had increased speculation about his guilt.
“There is a real potential that jurors will have formed strong pre-conceived ideas about his guilt prior to trial,” he said.
A former chief justice of the Northern Territory Supreme Court, Brian Martin, has been appointed to sit for the trial, which is expected to last for up to 20 weeks.
UPDATE December 29, 2011 THE murder trial of Perth barrister Lloyd Rayney will be presided over by a judge alone, without a jury.
A former chief justice of the Northern Territory Supreme Court, Brian Martin, has been appointed as an Acting Supreme Court Judge to hear the trial, which is expected to start in May next year.
Until now, a suppression order has meant PerthNow could not publish the order for the judge-alone trial, which was made in October.
The suppression order was recently amended, but the reasons behind the decision for a judge-alone are still suppressed.
Mr Rayney, 48, will stand trial over the wilful murder of his wife, former Supreme Court registrar Corryn Rayney.
Mrs Rayney’s body was found in a shallow grave in Kings Park in August 2007, more than a week after she was reported missing when she did not return home from a weekly bootscooting class.
- Police to return Rayney items The Australian, 21 Feb 2012
- Rayney made murder boast, says witness Perth Now, 21 Feb 2012
- Rayney murder trial sans jury The Australian, 29 Dec 2011
- Delay in Lloyd Rayney murder trial The Daily Telegraph, 31 Mar 2011
- Judge tells why Rayney got bail Courier Mail, 6 Jan 2011
Mr Rayney was arrested more than three years later and has maintained his innocence.
He is currently on bail.
The murder trial is expected to run for up to 20 weeks.
Just got this down into a post, so I can expand on it in time. This is an amazing case, A Perth lawyer Lloyd Rayney he’s appeared in the High Court, in royal commission hearings and as a senior prosecutor with the Director of Public Prosecutions.I am gathering all the stuff from the murder back in 2007…stay tuned. Lots of updates tomorrow
TIMELINE of events in the disappearance and murder of West Australian Supreme Court registrar Corryn Veronica Anne Rayney, 44.
August 7 – The mother of two girls vanishes at 9.30pm after her regular Tuesday night bootscooting class at the Bentley Community Centre.
August 8 – Ms Rayney is reported missing by her estranged husband, prominent Perth lawyer Lloyd Rayney.
August 9 – Police issue a missing persons alert, saying they have concerns about Ms Rayney’s welfare and asking the public to look out for her silver 2005 Ford Fairmont.
August 12 – Flanked by his wife’s younger sister Sharon, Mr Rayney pleads for information about his missing wife. “All of us are deeply distressed and extremely concerned for Corryn’s welfare,” he said.
August 14 – Ms Rayney’s car is found abandoned in inner-city Subiaco.
August 15 – An oil leak from Ms Rayney’s vehicle leads police to nearby Kings Park where they find a bushland grave.
August 16 – A hunt for her killer is launched when DNA samples taken by probes identify the body as Ms Rayney’s. Her body is exhumed later that night.
August 17 – Ms Rayney’s sister Sharon appeals for public assistance.
August 18 – Mr Rayney steps down from duties at Western Australia’s Crime and Corruption Commission. He was representing police at a hearing into misconduct by police and prosecutors in a wrongful murder conviction.
August 22 – Police search the home in Monash Street, Como, where the Rayneys lived with their daughters. Police say Mr Rayney is a person of interest but not a suspect.
September 1 – Ms Rayney’s funeral is held in Perth.
September 6 – Police say they are “very, very confident” of solving the crime.
September 20 – Police re-examine the Rayney family home. Detectives question Mr Rayney at police headquarters.
September 21 – Lloyd Rayney declares innocence as investigation goes on
September 23 – Police stand by lead detective in Rayney case
September 24 – Legal fraternity condemns police handling of Rayney case
October 3 – WA Police Commissioner pledges Rayney fairness
October 23 – Bugging charge against Lloyd Rayney amended
October 27 – Society link to Rayney inquiry
November 3 – Underworld figure grilled for eight hours
November 5 – Alibis clear two over Corryn Rayney murder
January 3 – Police return to search Lloyd Rayney’s home in Como
January 13 – Civil liberties chief interviewed as part of murder inquiry
February 29 – Lloyd Rayney’s bail extended over phone tap charges
July 30 – Lloyd Rayney pleads not guilty to phone tap
August 5 – Rayney allows police to interview his daughters
September 18 – Rayney sues after WA Police name him as the “prime suspect” over wife’s death
October 10 – Police say they will defend defamation case brought by Lloyd Rayney
October 31 – Lloyd Rayney faces phone-tap trial
November 19 – Lloyd Rayney begins defamation case against WA police
August 1 2009 – Defamation threat against crime book on Corryn Rayney’s murder
December 8 2010 – Police charge Lloyd Rayney with the wilful murder of his wife